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New Documentary Warns Of Vanishing Honeybees

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Honeybee

A honeybee. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – Patrons at the Gene Siskel Film Center Sunday learned about the mysterious disappearance of bees in the U.S. and around the world, at the screening of a new documentary.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Jennifer O’Neill reports, in the film, titled “Vanishing of the Bees,” Ellen Page narrates the story of two beekeepers, and the struggles they face, at a time when colony collapse disorder is killing bees at an alarming rate.

The beekeepers, David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes, are struggling to keep their bees healthy and fulfill their pollination contracts. They lobby Capitol Hill on the crisis faced by beekeepers, and travel across the Pacific Ocean to in an effort to protect their honeybees, the movie’s Web site explains.

In the movie, a beekeeper named Gunter Hawk is also interviewed. He moved to Southern Illinois to try and take a holistic approach to beekeeping, but he ended up leaving because he was surrounded by genetically modified corn crops and pesticides.

The film’s directors say Hawk originally thought he could bring healing to the area, but realized later that it wasn’t possible.

Co-director and producer Maryam Henein says the main problem of colony collapse disorder stems from the recent use systemic pesticides, which are neurotoxic to bees.

Basically, Henein says the pesticides interfere with the bees’ navigational systems and cause a sort of dementia, so the honeybees can’t make their way back to the hive.

“This impacts you. It’s not something that should just go in one ear and out the other,” Henein said. “It’s a serious problem, because the systemic pesticides are not just affecting honeybees. They are affecting us. We are being poisoned in the air, in the water, in the earth.”

Furthermore, the movie’s Web site points out, commercial honeybee operations are responsible for pollinating crops that make up one in three bites of food on each of our tables.

The films other director and producer, George Langworthy, says you can help by planting flowers and gardening, buying organic food, visiting farmer’s markets and urging the government to ban systemic pesticides.

A hearing between beekeepers and the Environmental Protection Agency is being held May 5, and Langworthy says they’ll be delivering petitions that call for the banning of these pesticides.

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